Betting Big in Belfast

Queens University  
Networking, Networking Business

Mellanox Acquires Titan IC and Bets Big in Belfast to Expand Network Intelligence, Security, Analytics, and Application Recognition Capabilities

Today, with the acquisition of Titan IC, we have embarked on a big and ongoing technology investment in Northern Ireland and I wanted to talk about why we’ve made such a big commitment in an area of technology that many aren’t familiar with, but we think will be incredibly important. Titan IC, based in Belfast, is the world leader in cutting edge Network Intelligence technology and analytics accelerators that are able to search and generate meaningful insights from data within cloud, storage, and networks. Key leaders of Titan IC technology team include VP of Engineering, Dwayne Burns and Chief Technology Officer, Sakir Sezer both of whom are founders of the company and hail from Queens University, Belfast. Mr. Burns through his tenure with ECIT, the institute of Electronics and Information Technology, and Mr Sezer who is a professor at Queens University Belfast and the Director of Research and the Head of the Networked System Security at the Center for Secure Information Technology (CSIT). These technology leaders have assembled an impressive group of former students, PhDs, researchers, and engineers who joined Titan IC to build a world class organization to advance Network Intelligence.

Titan IC

The Titan IC technology and team has benefitted from investments made by the Qubis fund, an accelerator for tech startups spinning out of Queens University Belfast; and Invest NI, the regional economic development agency for Northern Ireland. On the executive front the Titan IC team is lead by CEO, Noel McKenna who combines an Electrical Engineering background with extensive executive management experience in audio, wireless and communications ICs. Noel has been instrumental in driving the business and venture capital engagements including with Invest NI.

Kevin Holland, Chief Executive of Invest NI, said that, “The acquisition by Mellanox Technologies, a world leading technology business, is testament to the quality and innovation of the Titan IC team in Belfast, and Northern Ireland’s technical expertise in cyber security.  We have worked closely with Titan IC since 2007, not only offering financial assistance support but we are also a shareholder via Co-Fund NI.  This marks an exciting new chapter for Titan IC, and we very much look forward to Mellanox becoming an important part of the burgeoning technology sector in Northern Ireland”.

At Mellanox we have been working with professor Sezer and the Titan-IC team for a few years and have been impressed by the strength of their technology and the caliber of their team. The Titan IC RXP acceleration engine, is the industry-standard for high-speed complex pattern matching, real-time Internet traffic inspection and the detection of strings, keywords and malware using regular expressions (RegEx). The state of the art hardware engine, the RXP technology offloads RegEx processing, freeing up CPU cores and delivering faster throughput and increased efficiency. Its unique ability to handle combinations of high throughput, rule depth, and complexity make it the perfect solution for a wide range of applications such as intrusion detection and prevention, deep packet inspection (DPI), cloud and edge security, application recognition, lawful interception, logfile analytics, in-storage search and many more.

To help develop the ecosystem to take advantage of the RXP technology we invested heavily to enhance the DPDK (Data Plane Development Kit) library, and released open source software that provides open and industry standard mechanisms to specify and manage regular expression devices, deep packet inspection, and pattern matching rules and databases. The result is a robust development community that can take advantage of the Titan IC RXP engine to develop accelerated applications for next-gen firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention, DDOS mitigation, application recognition, network monitoring, financial data mining, host memory introspection, malware recognition, and many other use cases. The Titan IC RXP engine is the best regex technology available to complement our open virtual switch accelerated switching and packet processing (ASAP2) and stateful connection tracking engines. And our investment in DPDK extensions for the RXP regex engine provide an open, industry standard API that enables a multi-vendor ecosystem to benefit from DPI and pattern matching hardware acceleration.

Titan IC Technology

In fact, we were so impressed with Titan IC that we licensed the technology and have incorporated the RXP into our BlueField family of advanced SmartNICs and I/O Processing Units (IPU) solutions. Combining the RXP analytics engine with the world class networking and processing capabilities makes the BlueField an unmatched programmable, analytical engine for secure networking, storage, cloud, and AI applications. Now that the RXP technology is available as part of the BlueField I/O Processing Unit (IPU), the programmable platform opens whole new opportunities for security and data analytics, that previously were not possible with unaccelerated offerings.

But this begs the question if we already have this technology integrated into our products, why have we decided to acquire Titan IC? The reason is simple – there are simply some things that we couldn’t do as two separate companies that together we will be able to accomplish. First and foremost, some development will be enabled simply as a matter of scale, focus, and opportunities for innovation. As part of a combined company we will now be able to invest in analytics and security acceleration technologies, and new capabilities will become possible. Further, boundaries between different IP interfaces can prevent the optimization of hardware accelerators across sub-systems, and as part of a single company these boundaries will be eliminated.

Even more the acquisition will allow us to innovate across software-hardware boundaries, in ways that will lead to truly massive gains in network intelligence performance, scale, and capacity. And looking forward we’ll be able to synthesize elements of Titan’s RXP accelerator engines with our networking, virtualization, artificial intelligence, and storage accelerators in ways that we’ve only begun to dream about.

Looking Forward to the Future

So, we are excited to welcome to Mellanox the new world-class team of Network Intelligence experts from Titan. We look forward to expanding our workforce in Belfast and by continuing the association with Queens University, ECIT, and Qubis we can build on the incredible technical achievements that have already been accomplished. And by combining Titan IC’s breakthrough technology with the unique networking, storage, and artificial intelligence capabilities that we have, we will be able to create truly world class new capabilities that will benefit our customers and the world.

Read More:

Mellanox official Press Release


About Dror Goldenberg

Dror Goldenberg has served as Mellanox’s Vice President of Software Architecture since October 2013. Previously, he served as Vice President of Architecture from March 2010 to October 2013, where he was responsible for software, firmware and system architecture. Mr. Goldenberg joined Mellanox in 2000 as an architect, serving in numerous architecture and design positions. Prior to Mellanox, Mr. Goldenberg held various software development positions on an elite R&D team in the Israeli Defense Force. Mr. Goldenberg was a member of the Pentium MMX and Pentium 4 architecture validation teams at Intel. He contributed to the PCI and InfiniBand specifications and holds several patents in the field of high speed networking. Mr. Goldenberg graduated Cum Laude with a B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and holds an MBA from the Technion Institute of Technology Israel.

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